An ugly breakup can leave you feeling disoriented, frustrated and longing. It can take every bit of energy, and altogether too much time that you may otherwise be spending on improving yourself. To grow beyond this point and learn to let go is not automatic, but one important way to achieve this is to closely examine what went wrong.
Examine questions like "What actions did I take to cause this? What didn’t I do that may have prevented this? And most importantly: "Was this even my any of my fault?"
The idea here is not to harp on past mistakes, or to blame oneself; you can learn and grow from any hardship, but only if you redirect your energy to doing so.
As someone who recently survived the ending of a relationship, I have had to ask myself many of these hard questions. Although difficult and sometimes painful, I reflected on what I took away from my recent breakup and things I had to experience firsthand to fully grasp.
Below is a quick and easy guide that I have created to help everyone navigate their relationships from the moment decide to go all in and take things to the next level. My hope is that you can learn from my experience and to trust that intuition calling out at you from deep inside.
1) Lay It All Out There
An essential part of creating something long-lasting and functional is to be clear with your intentions, expectations and priorities. Do you want something exclusive and long-term? Do you want to date casually while entertaining other people as well? Do you expect to maintain separate social circles and family structures initially, or do you want to immediately integrate your partner into every facet?
These things are important to define as quickly as you can. Figure it out for yourself first, and then make it clear to your partner. If you wait too long, you may realize a conflict of interests when it’s already too late.
2) War Won't Heal
Fractures in a relationship can spark a battle that, in itself, takes more energy than the positive aspects of the relationship did at it’s highest point. Have you gotten caught in a stalemate? Is your reason for making a point to communicate, or to come out victorious?
I caught myself struggling to make my position heard, but lost all purpose beyond that. Did I really expect my arguing to level-off our sinking relationship? Probably not. In hindsight, I’m well aware that each additional angry text or defensive phone call was aiming at something other than healing or repairing.
3) Be Honest When Enough Is Enough
If all signs point to the unfortunate truth that the relationship will not work, don’t try to outrun reality.
It’s not easy to throw in the towel with matters of the heart, but torturing yourself without any realistic chance of reconciliation is pointless.
It is necessary, sometimes, to remove yourself from a situation to fully see the reality that has been in front of you the entire time.
Sure, you’ll find friends or colleagues along the way who encourage a break-up due to lack of perspective on the entire scenario, but you cannot dismiss outside opinions when nearly everyone in your life tells you to call it off. LISTEN.. they know you best.
4) When You’ve Lost Yourself, You’ve Lost Everything
Surprisingly, the most heartbreaking moment that I experienced throughout the course of my breakup came from my best friend. Sure, angry words were often exchanged between my ex and I as the weeks went on, but it I completely fell apart when someone who loved and cared about me had to tell me: “I miss Aaron. You’re not fun anymore because you haven’t been happy in so long. I love you so much but you’re just not the same anymore.”
And with that, I finally understood that I was no longer “me.” I had become a machine clanking along with no real concept of an end point. I was lucky enough to not be left behind by her, and I needed to be shaken back to earth.
5) You’ll Learn to Love Again
Of course there is a light at the end of every tunnel, and the fear of letting go can certainly cloud your vision from seeing it. Hard as it may be, sometimes you have to let go. The fear that he’ll replace you, anger about the arguments, hope that things may change; all of these things must be put to rest. Only then can you heal, reflect and slowly get back up to speed with your life after the fallout. Resist temptation to “rebound,” so as to not drag an innocent person into your own personal turmoil, and allow yourself to feel all of the emotions.
When you’re ready to move on, you’ll know. And like a phoenix, you will be stronger and wiser having gone through the fire.
Aaron Cordova is a living example of what happens when a quiet corner-dweller finds his voice and starts talking: he never stops. A recent graduate of California State University Long Beach’s journalism program, Aaron is brimming with passion for the media and entertainment industries, and is never at a loss of opinions and anecdotes. And despite his boyish appearance and bubbling excitement for the simple joys in everyday life, never underestimate. This boy is sharp, pensive, & oftentimes deep!